Chicago, Illinois: On Wednesday, July 6, 2022 Judge Manish Shah sentenced 22-year-old Jeremiah "Jerry" Harris to 12 years in federal prison which will be followed by an additional 8 years of supervised release.
In February, Harris plead guilty to one count of receiving child pornography and one count of engaging in interstate travel for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor.
In pleading guilty Harris admitted that in 2020 he had paid a 17-year-old boy $2,000 for sexually explicit photos and videos and attempted to convince two other minors to also send explicit images.
Additionally, Harris admitted that in 2019 he had traveled from Texas to Florida in order to engage in sexual conduct with a 15-year-old in a public bathroom.
The initial indictment filed against him following his arrest in September 2020 contained seven charges. Harris has remained in custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago since his arrest.
Possession of child pornography carries a maximum possible sentence of 15 years in prison. Harris' lawyers had sought a sentence of just 6 years.
"Jerry Harris' guilt has been firmly established. The sentence he received reflects the severity of his crimes and the lifetime of pain his victims will suffer," The Houston Chronicle quoted Sarah Klein, an attorney for the Texas family that first reported wrongdoing as saying.
"This was made possible because our clients' mother, Kristen, initially had the courage to report Harris to the FBI and provide evidentiary proof of the manipulation, sexual harassment, abuse, and exploitation that her sons had suffered.
That family had filed a $1 million lawsuit alleging that Harris had groomed twin brothers, then 13 and 14-years-old over the course of a year while Harris was 19-years-old.